What can be said of the lowly New York Knicks this season?
There were really no excuses for them to perform as badly as they have -- 29-48 with five games remaining in the season. Of course, it's not entirely unbelievable that the Knicks imploded on themselves.
The Knicks' Season Expectations
Rose had played his most games in a season following major knee surgeries and began to show signs of his old self. Noah, though coming off a season-ending shoulder injury in 2015-16, was believed to bring a ferocity at the center position that the Knicks haven't seen in a while. Lee was to bring sharpshooting and intense defense to the backcourt, compensating for the losses of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert a couple of seasons ago.
The veterans just weren't able to click together this season. They had their moments, but with the abundance of injury concerns on this roster, there was never truly a time that the team could play as a balanced unit.
Lee pretty much lived up to expectations, reaching season averages of 10.7 points, 2.3 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. Anthony's performance, too, remained consistent with his career averages, for the most part. Rose, as if it was planned, ended up being afflicted by many injuries this season, particularly in his feet and legs. Most recently, he tore his meniscus, ultimately ending his season and, likely, his tenure with the Knicks. Likewise, Noah suffered a season-ending injury, while also being suspended 20 games for violating the NBA's drug policy. Noah and Rose have proven to be the weakest links of the Knicks' offseason acquisitions, a disappointing fact. Rose's contract will expire, clearing up $20 million or so in cap space. The Knicks and Noah are locked into a few more years with each other, though the Knicks might strongly consider dishing Noah as part of an attempt to rebuild around center Willy Hernangomez.
One of the most concerning issues about this season is the evident tendency of injury for Kristaps Porzingis. After a stressful rookie campaign, Porzingis bounced back in his sophomore season and impressed. Yet, he missed multiple games with achilles problems, something the organization needs to monitor to maximize their investment in the Latvian forward.
Despite the abomination of a season they had, the Knicks still have a lot to look forward to. Hernangomez emerged as a quality piece for the frontcourt, even if he's a bit slow for the pace the Knicks hope to use moving forward.
Otherwise, he's an integral asset for the future of the team. The pair of Hernangomez and Porzingis is something that's happened before, which makes their chemistry much more appealing. Justin Holiday, too, looks like a solid player to invest in if the Knicks hope to get anywhere near contention. As for the rest of the team, there will likely be a lot of phone calls from the front office to other teams, as Phil Jackson tries to move Anthony and the other aging, expensive players.
There are no guarantees, of course, that the organization rids itself of veteran contracts, but it'll be one of the first steps taken to enter a true rebuilding mode. The Knicks will likely secure a lottery pick in the draft this summer, which brings a bit of light to the disastrous direction the franchise is heading. Only time will tell where the Knicks end up in the coming years.